Which Species are Disappearing?

Dear Father Phil,

Regarding the extinguishing of species you are right about the number that disappeared in the past. (99.9% of all species that ever existed became extinct long before the advent of man.) BUT: The speed of extinction was then 100'000 years for the same number what happens now in 100 years !!! You have to see the time scale in these processes, and what is happening now in ONE year was a process that evolved slowly during THOUSAND years.


Felix Meyer


Dear Felix

Thank you for your letter. I am trying to educate myself on this issue. To do that I followed out some of the links you kindly provided. I read about "tens of thousands" becoming extinct each year due to the effects of overpopulation. What I am trying to understand is precisely which ones. The sites I found seemed long on generalizations, but short on specifics.

One of your links led to the USGS which listed 14 endangered and threatened species here in Washington State, an area which has experienced huge population increase since the sixties. They had this to say about one of the endangered species:

"The Columbian white-tailed deer population in Washington has consistently increased since it was listed as endangered in 1967. The population that year was less than 400, but today it is estimated at 600 to 800...The Fish and Wildlife Service is considering reclassifying the species from endangered to threatened...."

Altho this site and others talked about endangered and threatened species, they did not mention any which had become extinct due to overpopulation. One site mentioned a species which had become extinct in 1935, but I could not find a list of those which have vanished in the years since world population has doubled. Do you know where such a list can be located?

The other question I have is what percentage disappears each year. I have read there are about four million different species on the planet. Besides species disappearing, are new ones emerging?

Any information you have would be appreciated. A few other people have sent me links, but they did not yield answers to my specific questions.

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom